It never ceases to amaze me the extent to which rice lends itself to variation with good results and how well it marries with most vegetables, tofu, seitan, lentils, beans dry fruit and nuts.
Rice makes a vital contribution to our diet and specially vegans and vegetarians are very fortunate to have this humble, unassuming grain as part of their culinary repertoire. It cheerfully accommodates and adjusts to suit tastes and palates all round the world – I feel blessed…….
Layering rice with a central layer of some sort of stew or spicy mixture is known as biryani as opposed to rice cooked in broth with vegetables, which is called pilau or pilaf. Biryani was traditionally prepared for feasts or special occasions and as such good quality Basmati rice was used. However, these days most families will have it once a week – Sunday lunch perhaps?
For this recipe I made a mild stew with lots of fried onions to add sweetness, broad beans and flat leaf parsley and replaced tomatoes with soya yogurt. It turned out to be a delicious and very satisfying meal and required very little besides a simple salad of onion, tomatoes and cucumber.
2 small cups (about 300 grams) Basmati rice, soaked for 1 hour
3 medium onions, sliced
5 tablespoons oil
2 inch piece ginger, finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon coriander powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
5 tablespoons natural soya yogurt (I use Sojade)
1 good cup broad beans (I used frozen)
200 grams button mushrooms
1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tin Marigold braised tofu, cut into 1 inch pieces + good pinch of turmeric
- In 1 tablespoon oil fry the button mushrooms, remove and set aside
- Fry onion in 3 tablespoons oil until golden
- Add spices, yogurt, beans, a little salt and half cup of water
- Cover and cook on low heat for about 10-15 minutes until broad beans are cooked
- Add fried mushrooms and parsley to the beans, cook for a further 2 minutes
- Rinse the rice and bring to a boil in plenty of water with 1 teaspoon salt
- Boil for about 3-4 minutes until the rice is almost cooked but still slightly al dente and strain in a colander
- Put about ¼ cup of water in the pan and 1 tablespoon of oil
- Lay about one-third of the rice in the pan and tip the broad beans on the rice
- Add rest of the rice to the pan to complete the layering
- Cover the lid with a clean tea cloth and place firmly on saucepan
- Steam rice on medium heat for 5 minutes, then lower heat to low and continue to steam for a further 15 minutes by which time the rice should be steaming
- Separately fry the braised tofu with a good pinch of turmeric for about 5 minutes
- Place the fried braised tofu on the rice before serving